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Positive changes in the West Midlands housing market as more properties listed

The West Midlands’ housing market shows initial signs of progress, as the number of new properties being listed for sale rise, according to the May 2019 RICS UK Residential Survey.

For 12 months, the number of new properties being listed for sale has fallen, and despite remaining in negative territory in May, only minus 20 per cent of respondents reported a fall in new instructions, up from minus 71 per cent in April.

Despite the pick-up in the number of new properties being listed for sale, new buyer enquiries are struggling to pick-up and average stock levels remain close to record lows.

This does mean that West Midlands respondents are yet to change their opinion for the three month outlook in terms of sales with the indicator remaining flat.

As stock levels remain close to low, house prices continue to rise. In May, plus eight per cent more respondents reported a rise in prices over the last quarter and whilst price expectations are flat for the coming three months, plus 42 per cent expect them to rise over the coming 12 months – up from plus 30 per cent in April.

Mike Arthan, of Barbers property agents in Shropshire, said: “There has been more sales activity than anticipated. A shortage of stock generally is helping maintain house prices.”

In the lettings market, tenant demand increased slightly for a fourth month in a row. At the same time, landlord instructions declined, a persistent theme over much of the past three years.

Given this imbalance, near term rental expectations are now more elevated than at any other point since May 2016, with rents seen rising across all regions/countries of the UK.

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, said: “Some comfort can be drawn from the results of the latest RICS survey as it suggests that the housing market in aggregate may be steading. However much of the anecdotal insight provided by respondents is still quite cautious, reflecting concerns about both the underlying political and economic climate.

“Another significant point made by respondents is that there continues to be considerable emphasis on the need for realistic pricing on the part of vendors, which while not a new story, is indicative of the ongoing challenges in the sector.

“Meanwhile the lettings numbers are a source for some concern with rental expectations beginning to accelerate. It remains to be seen whether the pick-up indicated in our data materialises but the deterioration in the net return for landlords certainly provides reason why it is a possible outcome of recent changes in the tax treatment of buy to let investments.”

By James Pugh

Source: Express and Star

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West Midlands third for Help to Buy sales

The West Midlands has had the third highest number of homes in England sold through the Help to Buy equity loan scheme since its launch five years ago.

More than 169,100 completed Help to Buy equity loan purchases have been made since 2013 worth an estimated £42.2 billion.

The figure for the West Midlands was 7,074, with Birmingham the area with the most at 1,532.

Of all purchases nationally, 81 per cent were made by first-time buyers.

The scheme is set to run until 2021, although it has been under scrutiny with claims it is enabling people who can afford to buy without the equity loan to climb on to the property ladder with just a five per cent deposit, thus driving up property prices.

Homelessness charity Shelter analysed the increased amount of mortgage lending in correlation to the scheme and concluded Help to Buy has increased the average home price by £8,250.

Housing experts at carried out the research to find out which counties in England have had the most and least completed Help to Buy equity loan property purchases.


It found that London was top with 12,206 and Greater Manchester second with 7,280. Staffordshire had 3,737.

Within the West Midlands Sandwell had 991 sales, Walsall 922 and Dudley 753.

The Government launched the Help to Buy equity loan mainly to help people step on to the housing ladder. It allows buyers with a minimum five per cent deposit of a property value to secure an interest-free loan of a further 20 per cent in England and Wales for the first five years.

The loan is only available on new-build homes up to £600,000.

The Government id currently deciding on the future of Help to Buy.

The Home Builders Federation says the scheme has been an “unmitigated success”, with 81 per cent of those helped having been first-time buyers.

Source: Express and Star

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RICS survey shows West Midlands housing market remains ‘resilient’

The August 2018 RICS Residential Market Survey shows that house prices in the West Midlands remain firm in what the survey calls a ‘divergent national housing picture.”

Despite the general conclusion of the survey that west midlands house prices are ‘steady’ there was a fall in newly agreed sales in August 2018, which represents the most negative reading in the last four months.

The survey had previously reported the relative lack of supply in the west midlands housing market as one of the main impediments to more activity, and these latest results show that the average inventory of unsold stock on estate agents books, is still close to historic lows. However, this is not helped by 21% of respondents to the survey who said that they had seen a fall in new instructions over the month, pointing to a decline in the fresh stock coming to the market.

Colin Townsend of John Goodwin in Malvern commented:”A quiet month (August 2018) but still pleasing levels of sales achieved. Requests for valuation appointments were down a little however. Still no real evidence of prices falling despite rumours that other parts of the UK are beginning to struggle.”

The chief economist of RICS, Simon Rubinsohn said:”It is clearly very difficult to talk about the housing market at the moment without being acutely aware of the marked differences in trends across the UK. As the latest RICS results highlights, in many parts of the country the housing market actually remains quite firm.”

“While a combination of lack of stock and some levels of uncertainty, both relating to the interest rate outlook and Brexit, has had an impact on activity, the overall picture in these areas is still encouraging.”

Rubinsohn’s comments were made before the recent statement from the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, about the severe threat to UK house prices that a no-deal Brexit represents. Mr Carney suggested that house prices would decline by up to 30% over three years, while mortgage rates would spiral, if the UK left the EU without a deal in place.

Source: The Business Desk